Friday, 2 June 2017

Researching beetles, and cherries galore!

So over the road to a neighbours place for a light evening meal last night.
Good company, mixed, ..... English, French, and German. All three languages spoken, mostly French, which was good exercise for me. The German husband is becoming a French citizen next month, and we think we shall eventually as well. Brexit has pushed many English to naturalize, but there are also many returning to the UK, scared of what the future might hold. But for some of the long stayers becoming a French citizen seems the more secure way to go, and for us older folk it is quite easy once all the documents are in order. All I would have to do would be to have an interview to see how well my French was doing, but Lester would have to sit an exam written in French as well as speak it. But he could do that, because he is better at speaking French than I am, mostly because he is the one who has to buy all the bits and pieces we are needing for the house, plus he does all the family paperwork, including tax.
It was a lovely shared evening. I like the feeling of being with Europeans, of different cultures meeting together, ...... it makes me feel globally expanded.
And so the conversation turned towards growing food, of the way in which commercial food production is slowing poisoning our bodies, and which is why us, and others present, were growing our own food. And mention was made of how good our potato crop was this year, which can be clearly seen when people drive over the bridge beside us. (this is one of the reasons why we are keeping everything weed free in that plot, .... because it is so visible!).
 And then further mention was made about a certain insect, a beetle.......the hostess got her Ipad out to show us. Oh..... that beetle! The pretty one with stripes! Oh dear!
My haul from a raid on the potato patch just now....

Because Lester understood the descriptions of the beetle as given to him by our French neighbour, he knew what to look out for when he did an earlier investigation of the potatoes. I did not because they were speaking French too fast and I could only pick up a word here and there, so I had to do some Googling. 
Apparently, In the jar I have two adult beetles, three pupa which are ready to dive down into the roots of the potatoes, lots of baby beetles which huddle in the leaf nodes, and some patches of yellow eggs on the understand of the leaves.
And the long bits..... a spider I inadvertently picked up and put into the jar as well.
Meanwhile, the flea beetles continue to flourish on the brassicas.
I think I might have to plant some more to replace them.
It is a good job I have a tray full of seedlings ready to go out, but only when the flea beetle season ends, or we find a super duper method of defeating them before that.
Google has been very useful in helping me get to know about beetles.
I would have preferred, though, to have been researching other subjects.
Beetles mean work.... the hunting down of them is so time consuming. But....not to worry...they have their seasons and will come and go, although always will be replaced by something else willing to eat our food before we ever get to bring it to harvest!

Well done our cherry trees, because they seemed to have rallied after the string of late frosts which we thought had damaged the cherries this year. But no, the harvest has been the best ever, and I canned seventeen jars of cherries in syrup so far, and dehydrated lots more, and the harvest is still coming in.
It is hard work on a mini farm, there is always something to do, and often we get overwhelmed by the endless work. But then the harvests start rolling in, which need to be processed for storage of course, but when the shelves start filling up with stored food, ...... well.... I cannot tell you how satisfying that is. And then all the tiredness drops away, and our enthusiasm returns.
Off to do something with a rabbit.
Yesterday we had it pan fried with vegetables and spiced potato slices.
Today, I think I shall lay some spices over it, use up some celery which is slowly going 'off' in the fridge,  maybe open one of the last remaining jars of canned green beans from last years' harvest, and do a sort of spicey mix up. Add rice. Done.
And for dessert....
DIY yoghurt made with milk from Lissie,
and home grown cherries cooked in sugar syrup.
(Just in case you wondered who Lissie is.....she is one of our house cows)
Oops... time is racing by and I have kept you long enough,
so thanks for sharing my world,
and bye for now.



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